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First Aider 2012-05-01 00:00:00 Volume 1 Issue 3

May 2012 • Volume 1 • Issue 3

Meet Jaime Rojas, ATC

Head Athletic Trainer for the Colorado Rapids

Public Service Announcement offers tips for helping young athletes avoid overuse injuries

Tips for helping young athletes avoid overuse injuries

Emily Florek awarded the Jack Cramer Scholarship

Emily Florek of La Grange, Ill., is the recipient of the 2012 NATA Jack Cramer scholarship

The new RigidLite Messenger bag:

Lightweight, comfortable kit offers ‘extreme organization’

Meet Jaime Rojas, ATC

Jaime has traveled internationally with the U.S. Soccer Federation, U.S. National Soccer teams, and the U.S. Pro-40 Select, including two trips to England, a three-week trip to Portugal, and visits to Italy and Ireland.

Jaime Rojas, ATC, says soccer has been his favorite sport since he was a little kid. “I didn’t play little league or anything else—soccer was the one organized sport I played,” Jaime says. So it’s easy to imagine how much he enjoys his job as the head athletic trainer for the Colorado Rapids MLS team, a position he’s had for four years.

Jaime’s family moved from Chicago to Florida when he was 10 years old. He graduated from high school in 1987, then spent four years in the Army. Returning to civilian life, he enrolled at the University of Florida and worked part time as a personal trainer in a Gainesville gym. He got to know the athletic trainers who worked in the gym’s PT clinic and says the more he learned about athletic training, the more he knew it was the career for him.

After earning his undergraduate degree, Jaime enrolled at Florida International University and received both a B.S. and Masters of Science in physical education/exercise physiology, completing his studies in 1998. Connections Jaime made while interning with the Florida Marlins led to a job as head athletic trainer with Miami Fusion. It was a great job, but the team folded in 2001.

A brother still living in Chicago convinced Jaime to move back to his hometown and look for a job there. Jaime landed a job with ATI, a physical therapy clinic.

“I Initially liked that job a lot, and enjoyed having regular hours, weekends off, and being able to take vacations when I wanted to,” Jaime says. “I helped the company grow from two locations in Chicago to more than 75 clinics in five states. But after awhile I realized the patients I worked with weren’t highly motivated like athletes…and I was becoming more of a corporate manager than anything else.”

Then before the 2009 season, Jaime got a call from MLS, asking if he would help promote its annual symposium to ATI’s athletic trainers. “The meeting was in Ft. Lauderdale,” Jaime says, “and I got the idea that my wife and I should go to the symposium, say hello to friends, and visit family. While there, I found out about the Colorado Rapids job.”

Going into his fourth season with the Rapids, Jaime says things are going very well.  “We had a tough season in 2009, but in 2010 we won the whole thing and we were all ecstatic. There’s a new coaching staff this year, and so far so good.”

Jaime found that a lot of things changed during the seven years he was out of major league soccer. He says, “Soccer teams used to play in NFL stadiums and the situations weren’t the greatest. Coming back to the league after seven years, I found that most teams had their own stadiums and soccer players were no longer treated like stepchildren! My training room in Miami was 15x10 and we could barely squeeze people in to do modalities, rehab exercises, or massages and many treatments were done out on the field. Now I have a very large training room typical of what a major league sport would have with hot tubs, cold tubs, treatment tables—everything we need.”

Jaime has traveled internationally with the U.S. Soccer Federation, U.S. National Soccer teams, and the U.S. Pro-40 Select, including two trips to England, a three-week trip to Portugal, and visits to Italy and Ireland. “Soccer has taken me all over the world,” he says, “and it’s been unbelievable.”

Jaime advises athletic training students to get as much knowledge as possible and meet as many people as possible. “Seek out a variety of internship experiences, especially in the field you’re interested in. For example while attending FIU, I volunteered for youth and amateur soccer tournaments and got to know so many people. This paid off, because when Miami was looking for a head athletic trainer they probably wanted someone with more experience. But everyone they asked to recommend someone mentioned my name and told them how much I wanted the job!”

Jaime says working with highly motivated athletes is the greatest thing about being an athletic trainer. He and his wife love Colorado, and feel it’s a wonderful place to raise their daughters, ages two and five months. 

Public Service Announcement offers tips for helping young athletes avoid overuse injuries

Parents and coaches are reminded to make certain that young athletes properly warm up and cool down before and after an activity.

More than five million kids under the age of 18 suffer a sports-related injury each year with approximately half of these due to overuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Last month, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), and the STOP Sports Injuries campaign joined forces and released a new radio and print public service announcement (PSA) on overuse sports injury prevention in kids.

The PSA highlights a familiar story: A nine-year-old boy participates in baseball games and practices 12 months of the year. He also plays on travel teams and on a local little league team; trains with a pitching coach; and throws balls in his own backyard. The games become increasingly competitive and result in strain to his young, still-developing body. Then due to too much use, an arm injury sidelines him from the game he loves, and he must sit and watch his friends play.

“The escalation of injuries in kids, especially as they relate to overuse, is alarming,” said orthopaedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, past president of AOSSM and STOP Sports Injuries Campaign Co-Chair. “Sports participation teaches kids priceless lessons about life, health, and sportsmanship, but they need to be playing various sports, switching up their routines and armed with the correct information and tools to stay on the field and out of my operating room.”

The campaign encourages parents to take their children for a physical before sports participation to determine any pre-existing conditions or injuries, and to obtain instruction on proper training and technique.

Parents and coaches are reminded to make certain that young athletes properly warm up and cool down before and after an activity. It’s also critical that children develop skills that are age- appropriate, and increase training gradually. It’s noted that recent research has shown that specializing in one sport at an early age can actually be detrimental to 
skill development.

Children must be encouraged to rest and take a break during athletics, and to speak up if they are in pain or think they are hurt.

"Young athletes want to be the best they can be, and they believe intense training and competition can help them achieve their goals. Sometimes, however, this approach can have the opposite effect. Frequent and repeated duplication of the same movement – whether in swimming, pitching, tumbling, jumping or serving - can produce an overuse injury that may jeopardize a child or teenager's sports career. With a few adjustments, parents and coaches can help make sports fun - and safe - again for young people," said Frederick Azar, MD, second vice president of the AAOS.

For more details, visit

Emily Florek awarded the Jack Cramer Scholarship

“I’ve worked with football players all four years, and it’s been awesome to work with them in the training room, see them improve, and return to the field," Emily says.

Congratulations to Emily Florek of La Grange, Ill., the 2012 recipient of the Jack Cramer Scholarship. The $2,000.00 scholarship was established in 2006 by Cramer Products to honor the memory of Jack Cramer, who believed in mentoring high school students interested in the profession of athletic training. Jack, son of company co-founder Frank Cramer, died in 2004 at age of 86. The scholarship is awarded to a graduating high school senior planning to become an athletic trainer and work in a high school setting.

Emily, a graduating senior at Lyons Township High School, has been an athletic training student aide since her freshman year. This fall, she’ll officially begin her journey toward a career as an athletic trainer as a student at Hope College in Holland, Mi.

“My favorite part of athletic training is getting to know the athletes and building a relationship with them,” Emily says. “I’ve worked with football players all four years, and it’s been awesome to work with them in the training room, see them improve, and return to the field” She says working with a variety of sports, including varsity basketball and softball, has been a great experience.

In an essay Emily wrote as part of the scholarship application, Emily described her vision of a high school athletic training program. Here is an excerpt:

“My view for an athletic training program would be to create a program that has a  goal to teach athletic training student aides about the athletic training field as well as the responsibility and commitment athletic training requires. The program would entail many components that would require older students to have more responsibility as well as strong leadership skills.

“A mentoring program would allow upperclassmen to teach the newer members about the program, the responsibilities of athletic training student aides, and the necessary skills they need to know. This would allow the new members to learn the skills that the upperclassmen have already acquired and allow them to have a role model to go to with any questions. I think that this would help reduce the anxiety that new athletic training student aides feel when they join an athletic training program.”

In his letter of recommendation for Emily, Lyons Township High School athletic trainer Robert Fichter, ATC, CSCS, wrote, “In my eleven years as an athletic trainer, I have never seen a student portray a better work ethic and commitment to the profession of athletic training as Emily. Her leadership abilities can be seen through her assistance with the overall daily operations of the athletic training room.  This includes helping the underclassmen with their athletic training skills and organizing the athletic training coverage.   In fact, the other student athletic training aides call her ‘mom’ because of her organizational skills in addition to tutoring others student athletic training aides with their school work.

“Emily’s best qualities include her refined interpersonal skills and level of maturity.  Her well-rounded personality and ambition set her apart from other students.  She is a very caring person who is always fun to be around.  Emily will be a perfect fit in the secondary school setting as an athletic trainer.  This is due to her ability to convey her knowledge to others as well as being a positive role model.”

Looking ahead to her career as an athletic trainer, Emily says she’s excited about the opportunity to work with other medical professionals interested in athletics, and making a difference in a young person’s life.

Emily, all of us here at Cramer couldn’t be happier that you were selected for this year’s Jack Cramer Scholarship. We expect great things from you, and know you’ll do us proud!

The new RigidLite Messenger bag:

The Rigidlite Messenger features two removable modules with clear plastic lids; and dual purpose, adjustable, and removable dividers.

Looking for an almost indestructible sling-style bag that provides the organization of a larger field kit? If you are…then look no further because Cramer has just what you’re looking for! The new RigidLite Messenger is a sling-style bag that’s part of our RigidLite line of lightweight modular kits and pods. Every product in the RigidLite line is engineered for maximum organization and durability in the field. And like other RigidLites, the Messenger is made of a semi-rigid thermoformed outer shell and 1680 ballistic nylon.

The Messenger is the most organized sling-style bag on the market. It features two removable modules with clear plastic lids; and dual purpose, adjustable, and removable dividers that help keep things where you want them, and provide support as well. There’s an expandable gusseted exterior pocket, and even a pocket that’s perfect for your smart phone.

Ron Cooper, ATC, has used the RigidLite Messenger kit for about six months and says he loves it. Ron’s a busy guy, as supervisor of athletic trainers for SportsNet (a division of the Olathe Medical Center) in Olathe, Kan. Through his position with SportsNet, Ron also serves as head athletic trainer at Olathe East High School.

“I’m a big fan of the shoulder bag,” Ron says. “I’m just not comfortable with a fanny pack on my hip. So to me, the shoulder bag is ideal. Before using the RigidLite Messenger bag, I used a sling-style bag that just had two pockets, with nothing to keep things organized. I would throw plastic zip-lock bags filled with bandages and gauze pads and other stuff into the biggest pocket. It all fell together and I’d have to dig through everything to find what I needed.  The difference between that bag and the Messenger is significant.

“The Messenger offers extreme organization,” Ron continues. “The two module containers with plastic lids pockets are awesome and I’ve gone from being disorganized to very organized. I can instantly see what’s in each container, and they’re zipped together. It’s easy to access everything, with no digging necessary.”

It’s easy and convenient to work out of the Messenger while you’re wearing it. The bag features a wide comfort strap and quick-pull zipper, and it’s designed so that either side can be easily opened with just one hand. And with the Messenger’s waterproof rain cover, you can quickly and easily protect your equipment from the elements.

“I use the Messenger as a sideline kit,” Ron says. “It holds everything I need for wound management, and is a great sports-specific bag. It’s well padded and made of high quality materials. The extra padding on backside makes it even more comfortable and easy to adjust. I give it an A!”